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Day 6: Faith

I was raised on Sunday school, church, Bible school, Saturday morning communion classes, and Wednesday afternoon confirmation classes.  I learned many life lessons in the quilting room which doubled as our classroom at St. Luke’s in Campbell Hill, IL.  It was in the Saturday morning communion class that I learned how to kick a kickball and one Wednesday afternoon confirmation class taught me just how far a seventh grader could spit Dr. Pepper when a classmate surprised everyone with how realistically he could imitate a machine gun.  These are important things to know as you’re growing up!  But somewhere along the way, I also learned how much of an impact a simple gesture can make on someone else’s life, even when you don’t realize it because to you, it’s just a simple thing you do.  I learned that life isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  And I learned that a little bit of faith can take you a long way.  I had no idea in those preteen years how profound that lesson would become in my child-rearing days. 
   I’m thankful for autism because it has brought my faith to the forefront of my being.  Yes, I have relied on my faith to get me through troubling days several times over the years:  my parents’ divorce; losing our fourth child to a miscarriage; and the death of my brother, my grandfather, and a dear friend all in the span of two months to name a few.  However, nothing but our faith could have gotten us through the blow that came with Ben’s diagnosis and the subsequent roller-coaster that has been our lives ever since.  I’m eternally grateful to be blessed with the wonderful husband I have.  Recent statistics indicate that 80% of marriages with a child on the autism spectrum end in divorce.  80%.  That number nearly takes my breath away.  I have never felt that our marriage has been threatened by autism, but I also know that having a husband with a strong faith has made all the difference in the world in how we handle life on the spectrum.  That doesn’t mean he’s perfect.  Neither of us are, but strong marriages rarely involve both people being strong at the same time, but rather a husband and a wife who take turns being strong while the other is feeling weak.  I know that when I’m down, I won’t be there alone (physically and figuratively) and I won’t be there forever.  Having faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of us, God is already there.

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